Life is boring between the highs. You have to learn how to be in your own company and get used to hearing your own thoughts or you’ll always be a follower, a consumer, or an impostor. People and circumstances can be frustrating and you have to learn how to be self-contained enough to not be pulled in. It can seem like everyone else is living a better life while you’re stuck in your own monochromatic existence. We want what they have, but they want what someone else has, and so on. Eventually you have to stop looking for the elusive source of the so-called happiness because it’s a dysfunctional fantasy-chasing cycle. You’ll never be satisfied because you weren’t meant to be. Not here, anyway.
I read and article recently that said it’s a good thing to let your kids get bored and figure out what to do about the “nothing” on their own (1). The author argued that boredom breeds the opportunity to be creative, self-motivated, and helps them discover their ability to influence their world. Too many structured activities stunts the development of their own problem-solving self-direction. It hinders their ability to set and reach their own goals because someone else, a coach/teacher/leader/parent, is always making the plans and setting goals and snowplowing obstacles for them.
I don’t feel so guilt-ridden seeing my kids sink into summertime boredom. I know that eventually they’ll make ridiculous videos, bake cupcakes, or paint their nails for the seventh time that day. I also know that they end up getting on each other’s nerves and arguing. It’s annoying, but it, too, is an important way to train for the rest of their lives.
Constant stimulation dulls the senses and makes people forget how to think. Always looking at someone else will only make you less satisfied with you. People fill the gaps of knowledge about others with positive attributes the the point of absolute fiction. We don’t even know we’re making stuff up and then getting jealous of it. Nonstop activity helps people avoid being in their own company, or from facing the fact that their best is someone else’s average.
The endless flow of incoming information drowns out the silence in the soul. Dress-rehearsal highs are planned and documented, but the real play gets called off. Filters make it look cooler. Everyone’s trying to keep up and one-up the other. I’m not saying that everything is a sweeping facade, but you know the unsettling feeling of a paid-off touchdown when you see it.
It’s like watching herd of sheep follow each other’s back end. “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” (Psalm 23:2). What if one of them just laid down in the green pasture?
It’s a loss to drown out the silence because creativity, spirituality, and purpose speak there. People treat minors like majors because they’re not comfortable enough to walk beside still waters. They sensationalize the tiniest moments because they’re afraid that’s all there is.
Most of life is spent being patient. Don’t let people fool you into thinking they have it better than you. If they did, you wouldn’t know about it.
Don’t bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked. In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun. Get insurance with God and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last. Keep company with God, get in on the best. Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before Him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top. – Psalm 37:1-7 MSG
Try listening to the quiet within you.
1. Gold, Sunny S. (July/August 2015), “How to Be a Better Parent”, Scientific American Mind, p. 11.